Raven’s Story

As the saying goes, When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Mine came in the form of a spunky little black mare bound for slaughter.

  • So, I bought a horse off the internet.
    Chapter 1 I wasn’t planning on buying a horse at all. It was August of 2018 and I was working two jobs – one at a seasonal background check company that slowed down to part-time twice a year, and the other mucking stalls at an Arabian show barn with my friend and fellow co-worker, Simone. … Continue reading So, I bought a horse off the internet.
  • I bought a dream, but I couldn’t touch it yet
    Chapter 2 The feedlot owner said I had two choices: He could call me when the mare was better and cleared to leave, and I could buy her then. Or, I could buy her now. I asked him if he would charge me board for her while she recovered, trying to calculate how much more … Continue reading I bought a dream, but I couldn’t touch it yet
  • O, and she is called Blackfyre…for what else could I call her?
    Chapter 3 The night I paid for the feedlot mare and I knew she was mine, I sat on the floor with a notebook and started a list of names. The lot had called her “Arlie”, but I didn’t think that suited her. There were plenty of synonyms for “black” on my list – Onyx, … Continue reading O, and she is called Blackfyre…for what else could I call her?
  • Did she hear me?
    Chapter 4 Raven was in quarantine at the feedlot for two weeks. The admin of the Arabian 300 Club told me when I messaged her that the lot owner wouldn’t release a horse with strangles until it’s over. I just had to wait. I looked at pictures of Raven and watched her riding video every … Continue reading Did she hear me?
  • I have a feeling she’ll be an adventure
    Chapter 5 I texted the feedlot owner again, saying I didn’t want to bother him but I was worried about my girl and wanted to get her settled. It had been over a week since he’d quarantined her at the lot. Was she better or worse? “She’s actually doing well,” he wrote back. I felt … Continue reading I have a feeling she’ll be an adventure
  • Don’t get attached!
    Chapter 6 On the Sunday morning after Raven was settled at Tinstar Ranch, my friend Simone and I made the two hour drive up to see her. I didn’t know what kind of shape she would be in; Jamie had let me know that her leg had been draining pus, a possible extension of the … Continue reading Don’t get attached!
  • Climbing the walls
    Chapter 7 On a Thursday, Jamie contacted me to let me know that Raven had been very agitated, pacing back and forth in her pen. It sounded like something was wrong. I went through the normal checklist that horse owners think of when their horse is acting strange: Was she eating and drinking? Was she … Continue reading Climbing the walls
  • A lovely challenge
    Chapter 8 So I had decided to brush up on my horsemanship skills to be prepared to work with Raven. I realized that she was going to be a challenge, but I also knew she would teach me a lot. I saw great potential in her – if I committed to working with her and … Continue reading A lovely challenge
  • Learning to listen
    Chapter 9 On the ride up to see Raven the following week, Simone and I talked about both of us studying the Parelli natural horsemanship program. The day before, we had gone to look at a young Yakima orphan mustang that Simone was interested in buying, and so we could help each other through the … Continue reading Learning to listen
  • Miss Raven goes to the vet
    Chapter 10 The following week I was feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety – Jamie thought Raven was well enough to start her series of tests for strangles. This was wonderful because she was no longer showing the signs of active illness, and starting these tests would get us on our way to bringing … Continue reading Miss Raven goes to the vet
  • Where is home?
    Chapter 11 Simone and I were on the hunt for a boarding stable. Raven had been in quarantine for over a month, and before we started her strangles testing, we needed to find a place for her to live when I finally got to bring her home. Simone had just bought a little Yakima orphan … Continue reading Where is home?
  • Seven weeks later…
    Chapter 12 Seven weeks from the day that I bought my little mare off of the internet, Raven got her feet trimmed by a farrier. This was the last thing that needed to be done now that she was cleared and healthy. It’s a basic health need, something that we couldn’t have done while she … Continue reading Seven weeks later…
  • Raven arrives!
    Chapter 13 At long last, after 8 weeks of worrying, driving weekly four hour round trips, three vet visits, and a lot of ups and downs, my Raven Blackfyre arrived at her new home. Jamie hauled her down from Tinstar Ranch to the boarding stable where she would be living, just a couple of miles … Continue reading Raven arrives!
  • A moment of quiet magic
    Chapter 14 I started keeping a new journal about my time with Raven, for a purpose. That first week of November, after she had moved to her new home at the barn, I wrote: In writing down our journey here, I hope to keep myself accountable – to record our successes and challenges, and urge … Continue reading A moment of quiet magic
  • Finding our way in the dark
    Chapter 15 Fall was transitioning into winter, and Raven was growing in a thick winter coat. Her ribs had started filling in, and she was looking healthier. She had just settled into her big new pen a few days prior with her buddy Ryker in the next pen, and she had acquired another new friend: … Continue reading Finding our way in the dark
  • Moving forward
    Chapter 16 The first week of December, Simone and I tried something new – our ponies would get pretty upset if one or the other left their pen to go down to the barn, as demonstrated by my fraught solo outing with Raven the previous week. So, we decided to help both of them gain … Continue reading Moving forward
  • My year of finding magic
    Chapter 17 At the beginning of 2019, I bought a little wall calendar. In January, I wrote at the top: My year of finding magic in the world & in my life – and making magic happen. Plant the seed, care for it, and it will grow. I was starting to feel like I needed … Continue reading My year of finding magic
  • The conversation
    Chapter 18 One Friday afternoon at the end of March, I had been working with Raven in her paddock, just as the hay truck was delivering the horses’ evening meal. She was in her halter with a long lead rope attached, and as soon as the flakes of hay hit the feeder, she clearly wanted … Continue reading The conversation
  • Fire-breathing dragon
    Chapter 19 At the end of March, Simone and I asked the barn owners if we could move Ryker to another pen. We needed to be able to work with our horses without the separation anxiety they experienced when one or the other was taken out of their paddock. It was time for each of … Continue reading Fire-breathing dragon
  • Wake up call
    Chapter 20 One day I asked one of the barn owners if she would be willing to take her old, experienced gelding out with me and Raven for a ride around the grassy track. I had not ridden Raven outside yet, just a few very basic walks around the indoor arena. I thought that Raven … Continue reading Wake up call
  • After the fall
    Chapter 21 So, we had a setback. Raven was not ready to be ridden without some more communication work on my part. She was not confident with me on her back, just as she was still not quite confident with me on the ground. I had pushed it too quickly, again with the assumption that … Continue reading After the fall
  • An offer of help
    Chapter 22 I had come to Rendezvous Ranch to attend a women’s horse camping clinic, but instead ended up on an unexpected horse camping trip with the owner of the ranch and her friend. It didn’t even enter my mind to be disappointed; I thought of it as an adventure and jumped right in! I … Continue reading An offer of help
  • The past lives of Max & Raven
    Chapter 23 One day in June, I was chatting with one of my co-workers at the feed store about Raven and how I knew nothing of her history. My co-worker mentioned an animal communicator that she had enlisted to help with her dogs, and how the over-the-phone session had provided some clarity and improvement. I’m … Continue reading The past lives of Max & Raven